January 21, 2022

Local nonprofit steps up to help officer’s family after son dies in wreck

Therese Apel

Just a day or two after a plea began to circulate Facebook on behalf of a Clinton police officer who had lost his son in a tragic car crash, a non-profit stepped up to help pay the funeral costs.

Officer Jeremy McInnis is the father of 13-year-old Jeremiah McInnis, who was killed in a crash near the intersection of Hanging Moss Road and Northside Circle. Jeremy McInnis’ blue family circled the wagons and immediately started trying to raise money to help defray funeral costs for the officer’s family.

On Thursday, First Responders of Mississippi, an organization started in order to “provide services for First Responders in their greatest time of need,” donated the rest of Jeremiah McInnis’ funeral costs, according to Clinton Police Captain Josh Frazier.

“We really want to thank the community for rallying to help our officer in his time of need,” said Clinton Police Chief Ford Hayman. “And we are eternally grateful to First Responders of Mississippi for their generous assistance as well. The work they do is important to first responder families all over the state.”

Ruth Ann Rigby, who founded the nonprofit with her husband Jody, said she recognized the need as soon as she got the first of three back-to-back calls about the situation.

“We immediately sent an email to our board of directors about this situation, it was a terrible situation,” Rigby said. “It was just heart wrenching, to find out you have to postpone your son’s funeral because there aren’t enough resources at the time.”

Rigby said First Responders will also make sure the family gets any and all clinical help they need to deal with the loss in the coming days if that’s something they’d like to do.

The organization helps with a variety of needs, whether to an individual, a family, or an agency. Since they were founded, they’ve also provided equipment for small town departments whose budgets don’t cover all the bases, as well as making sure agencies who need N95 masks were fully stocked.

“First Responders of Mississippi was created to make a positive difference in the lives of First Responder organizations, the heroes themselves, and their families, no matter the challenge,” the website reads.

Jeremiah’s funeral arrangements are as follows:

His visitation will be January 28, 2022 from 9am-7pm at Westhaven funeral home on Robinson Road. The funeral will be at the Westhaven in Magee on January 29, 2022 at 1pm.

If you’re going to the funeral and want to be in the line, meet at 722 Kirkley Drive in Jackson between 11:45 am to 12 pm.

To find out more about First Responders of Mississippi, visit their website.

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